A. Selections from August 15, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection (usually) from that item
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
August 15, 2017
items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
Doesn’t Want What’s Best for Us
This article is by Jonathan Taplin on The New York Times.
It starts as follows:
Ahem. I have not
accepted Google, and neither have others. And one major reason
for me not to use Google is that, indeed as sketched (not very
above, Google is in fact a "neoliberal" neofascistic
monopoly that has destroyed (quite intentionally) the privacies
and therewith the freedoms of billions of people, that tracks
what people buy, tracks what they search for, tracks where they are,
and in fact tracks everything that the billions do merely
its own profits while destroying democracy, freedom,
privacy, individuality, and independence.
Google processes more than three billion search queries a
day. It has altered our notions of privacy, tracking what we buy, what
we search for online — and even our physical location at every moment
of the day. Every business trying to reach mass-market consumer demand
online knows that Google is the gatekeeper.
The fact that it is a monopoly, with an almost 90 percent
share of the search advertising business, is a given that we have all
come to accept. It’s Google’s world; we just live in it. So it matters
how this company works — who it hires, who it fires and why.
When a company is dominant
enough, it sets the tone for an entire era.
And that is Google and why I don't use it. There is also
this (and this is The New York Times):
For much of the
short life of Silicon Valley, America has held a largely romantic view
of the tech industry. Men like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were held in
high esteem. But increasingly, companies like Google, Amazon and
Facebook are coming under the same cultural microscope that questioned
the “greed is good” culture of the 1980s. Viewers of the comedy series
“Silicon Valley” note that uber-libertarianism and uber-geek machismo
go hand in hand.
Well... I very much dislike
Google and stopped using it. I very much dislike Amazon and never use
it. (I buy my books at proper bookstores.) I very much dislike Facebook
and never use it and don't visit it. I also always very much
disliked Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg (always: I dislike
extremely rich liars and deceivers).
My reasons are the same as for Google: These corporations are neofascistic (and check that definition!).
Here is some background on how these monopolistic neofascist
corporations work and what they (really) want:
The effects of the
darker side of tech culture reach well beyond the Valley. It starts
with an unwillingness to control fake news and pervasive sexism that no
doubt contributes to the gender pay gap. But it will soon involve the
heart of Google’s business: surveillance capitalism. The trope that “if
you are not paying for it, you aren’t the customer — you’re the
product” has been around for a while. But now the European Union has
passed the General Data Protection Regulation, which will go into
effect next May. This regulation aims to give people more control over
their data, so search engines can’t follow them everywhere they roam
online. It will be an arrow to the heart of Google’s business.
What these monopolistic neofascist corporations want is to change the internet
spying system on absolutely everyone, where no one
- other than the 1% of the richest - has any privacy
whatsoever, and where the very rich have all the powers, and nobody
else has anything to say, all on the lines of “if you are not paying for it, you aren’t the
customer — you’re the product”.
As to the European Union: I live in Europe, and I do not trust
all. In fact, I do not know about the the General Data Protection Regulation (I am
sorry), but I do not have much faith in institutions that try "to give people more control over their data" while there are all manner of - secret and
partially secret - "search
engines" that can follow
them everywhere, and do so since 16 years at the very least.
These are the foreposts of a totalitarian
society in which
absolutely everything is controlled by the very rich, who only allow
what benefits themselves.
Then there is this -
and ask yourself who "We" are:
We have an
obligation to care about the values of the people who run Google,
because we’ve given Google enormous control over our lives and the
lives of our children. As the former Google design ethicist Tristan
Harris points out, “Without realizing the implications, a handful of
tech leaders at Google and Facebook have built the most pervasive,
centralized systems for steering human attention that has ever existed,
while enabling skilled actors (addictive apps, bots, foreign
governments) to hijack our attention for manipulative ends.”
Google has far too
much control over the lives of virtually everyone. And the -
so-called - "former Google design
ethicist Tristan Harris" is spinning tales of lies when he insists
the "tech leaders at Google and
Facebook" did not realize
implications of what they were doing: They did what they did precisely
because they wanted total control of everyone's lives (except
those of the very rich), and total control about their beliefs,
knowledge, values, moneys, preferences, acts, and private opinions
(which you can't utter anymore by way of a computer without
its ending up in some secret NSA dossier (that may not have been read
by human eyes)).
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article, that again
invites the question who "We" - "the
citizens of the world" - are,
simply because everybody has been totally deprivaticed and has
become totally known to very many secret services (also if
your dossier was - so far - never read by human eyes):
It has happened.
And Google and Facebook, precisely like the NSA and the GCHQ, will never
cede their universal presence and their universal knowledge of
everyone, until they are wholly destroyed, which unfortunately requires
a revolution. And this is a recommended article, which does need
reading by informed minds.
Somehow the citizens of the world have been left out of this
discussion of our future. Because tools like Google and Facebook have
become so essential and because we have almost no choice in whether to
use them, we need to consider the role they play in our lives.
By giving networks like Google and Facebook control of the
present, we cede our freedom to choose our future.
We Got from George W. Bush to Donald Trump: Liberals Had More to Do
with It Than We’d Like to Think
This article is by Anis
Shivani on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
The arrival of Donald J.
Trump feels like the completion of the cycle I
was writing about in the early George W. Bush years. It is all too
easy to get caught up in the moment, though fears are understandably
high, and not think about the deep-seated anomalies and contradictions
in the body politic that have brought America to the cusp of out-and-out fascism. Even if Trump’s
policies turn out in the end to be not as fearsome as he has repeatedly
stated, his explicit persona and policy positions take us very far out
of the realm of normal democracy. It has become fashionable lately to
excuse George W. Bush for being a “moderate” in comparison with Trump,
but it should not be forgotten that Bush was the original American
fascist; everything Trump, or a future would-be authoritarian, might do
is predicated on the radical innovations Bush introduced in our
political style, subverting the constitution and changing the balance
between liberty and security in ways that have had permanent impact.
Ahem. I find the
beginning fairly condescending (who is Anis Shivani?) and since I know
a lot about fascism and neofascism (see here, for example, where no
less than 21 definitions of "fascism" are considered) the first
thing I want to say is that neither Bush nor Trump are fascists: Both
in my sense, and the second thing I want to say is that Bush was not
"the original American
I don't know who
was, but it seems fairly to very certain to me that the rise of the
present computerized neofascism started in 1971, with Lewis
Powell's memo, and that it has continued and grown stronger and
stronger ever since, indeed by continuous deregulations and by the enormous
powers computers, that are in fact hardly subject to effective legal
control, give to their rich users.
There is also this
sum-up, that is more or less correct, though it forgets about the
thirty years from 1970-2000, where the preparations were made (and
check out Brezinski, in case you want to know how computers were
planned as THE tool of neofascism - then called "technotronics" -
the late 1960ies: See my Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968):
need to remind
ourselves of how events took place in the Bush years with
incomprehensible speed and bombast, of how shocking it was to deal with
such phenomena as torture, rendition, black sites, enemy combatants,
the loss of habeas corpus, open-ended surveillance, registration, mass
deportation, stripping Americans of citizenship and political
assassination — the de facto end of the Bill of Rights.
Here is the last bit
that I'll quote from this article:
Actually, I think it was
quite possible to say in 2001 what the Clinton
presidency was (a major fraud that consisted in deregulations that were
sold as "freedom" and "demo- cracy", that laid the foundations for Bush
after 9/11), but indeed I do not know of anyone who
did, in 2001, though I am rather certain there were some.
interplaying factors — fascism, identity politics, neoliberal
economics, terror, globalization — have all come to full fruition as
any perspicuous observer might have noted for many years. Just after
the conclusion of the Clinton presidency, it wasn’t possible to have
such clear insight into exactly what neoliberalism was, how it operated
in tandem with identity politics to bring about a facetious meritocracy
that was really an upsurge of what later came to be known as the 1
percent taking over every aspect of power and leaving the rest of us in
by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Trump has finally condemned violent white supremacists. He was pushed
into it by a storm of outrage at his initial failure to do so in the
wake of deadly violence to Charlottesville, Virginia.
too little, too
late. Trump’s unwillingness to denounce hateful violence has been
part of his political strategy from the start.
after he began his
by alleging that
Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, two brothers in Boston
and urinated on a 58-year-old homeless Mexican national, subsequently
“Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”
brutality, Trump excused it by saying
“people who are following me are very passionate. They love this
they want this country to be great again.”
indeed. Incidentally, a reason why I do not write much about
Charlottesville is that "everybody" seems to do so.
reports the following crap (which is not his):
week in a memo from Rich Higgins, who had been director for strategic
in Trump’s National Security Council.
Political Warfare,” Higgins wrote the
seven-page document in May, which was recently leaked to Foreign Policy
Higgins charges that a
cabal of leftist “deep state” government workers,
“globalists,” bankers, adherents to Islamic fundamentalism and
want to impose cultural Marxism in the United States. “Recognizing in
candidate Trump an existential threat to
cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative,
that benefit recognize the threat he poses and seek his destruction.”
It seems to me a total
lie and a
total inversion of what is really happening,
but then it is true that the GOP is moved by the same force as
I encountered in the "University" of Amsterdam in 1978, when everybody
was told the following neofascistic lie:
that truth does not exist"
Since then neofascism
thrived, in the "University" of Amsterdam (where the "Marxists" and the
embraced this teaching until well in the 2000s), and
elsewhere. I was one of the very few who protested - and
was called "a dirty fascist" for 12 years because I was not a Marxist, not
and believed in truth,
As I said, people who
in truth, rationality and science were - violently
- discriminated in the "University" of Amsterdam, and indeed I was also
- even - denied the right of taking my M.A. in philosophy.
And this is a
Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism
article is by
Kristen R. Ghodsee on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
When Americans think of Communism in Eastern
imagine travel restrictions, bleak landscapes of gray concrete,
miserable men and women languishing in long lines to shop in empty
markets and security services snooping on the private lives of
citizens. While much of this was true, our collective stereotype of
Communist life does not tell the whole story.
Some might remember that Eastern bloc women
rights and privileges unknown in liberal democracies at the time,
including major state investments in their education and training,
their full incorporation into the labor force, generous maternity leave
allowances and guaranteed free child care. But there’s one advantage
that has received little attention: Women under Communism enjoyed more
A comparative sociological study of East and
conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern
women had twice as many orgasms as Western women. Researchers marveled
at this disparity in reported sexual satisfaction, especially since
East German women suffered from the notorious double burden of formal
employment and housework. In contrast, postwar West German women had
stayed home and enjoyed all the labor-saving devices produced by the
roaring capitalist economy. But they had less sex, and less satisfying
sex, than women who had to line up for toilet paper.
How to account for this facet of life behind
I don't know whether the women under socialism had better sex
than the women in the West, but the article gives some
evidence. It doesn't quite convince me, but then I do know that
sex is very much understudied, both in the West and under
main reason this - fairly long - article is here is because it does
give a somewhat decent picture of what "socialism" 
was like, that also provides some reasons why my parents (whose lives
were much poorer than mine, and who lived through WW II) were - genuine
and courageous - socialists and communists.
they were mistaken, but they were not stupid. And this is
a fairly good sum-up of some popular aspects of "socialism", and is
recommended for that reason.
Changing of the Guard:” The Prescient 1980 Book That Foretold the
Democrat Love Affair With Neoliberalism
This article is by NewDealDemocrat with an introduction by Yves Smith
on Naked Capitalism. It starts as follows:
month ago I read
the synopsis of an interview in which
Thomas Frank described the near evisceration of the Democratic
Party. Here’s his simple version:
indeed, and there is in fact a considerably better summary in the above
article 2. And NewDealDemocrat is quite
right that the evisceration of the Democratic Party started in the
1970ies (as briefly explained in article 2).
what happened is that some years ago they decided they didn’t want to
be the party of the people anymore. They didn’t want to be the sort of
traditional Democratic Party that I grew up with, the party of
Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson. That’s not what they wanted to be.
wanted to be
something different. This involved … It was an enormous transition in
the Democratic Party all through the seventies, all through the
eighties, all through the nineties until they are what we see them as
today. They are a party that represents a group of very affluent white
collar professionals. That’s who leads the party. That’s who they speak
for. That’s whose issues they care about. That’s really who they are….
ends as follows:
Bill Black spoke of in June was already flowering 40 years ago — the
turning away from traditional Democratic power centers, and from broad
government programs anchored in economic populism, in favor of social
issues and a commitment to lower taxation and more efficient fiscal
prudence — espoused by a group that grew up in the post-war middle
class suburbs and sought to appeal to those suburbanites first and
foremost, taking for granted that the broad prosperity that those
programs forstered would continue.
the country has
suffered from how wrong they were.
I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better.
My parents were communists (both for 45 years) so I was introduced to
socialism and the Soviet Union before I was 8 (in 1958). I more or less
believed in Soviet socialism until I was exposed to it in 1964, in the German
which completely cured me from believing that the Soviet Union
and its allies were really socialist in the sense I understood
the term (which by 1964 was fairly clear to me, both from my parents
and from reading).
I think I was quite right, but that decision of mine of 1964 also was
merely personal: Nobody in the - Dutch communist - circles I lived in
thought the same.